Brockway Stuns Redbank Valley 7-3
Tagged under: District 9, Gameday Hub, News, pfn, Playoffs
Phil Myers | November 12, 2022
Not many outside of Brockway thought the Rovers could defeat the defending Class A state runners-up in the playoffs. And no one in their right mind would have guessed the score would end up 7-3 because Redbank averages 37 points a game and Brockway 34. Plus, Redbank beat the Rovers 34-28 in their first meeting earlier this year after leading 34-14 at one point. But Brockway did beat Redbank Valley 7-3 Saturday afternoon in DuBois at Mansell Stadium in a District 9 Class A semi-final game.
Brockway did it by running the football 51 times and only passing 8 times even though their quarterback, Brayden Fox averages 30 passes and 220 yards a game. Jendy Cuello had the bulk of the carries with 41 while gaining 171 yards. “They (the coaches) told me they were going to give me the ball 40 times,” said Cuello. For those who don’t know Cuello came to the Brockway from the Dominican Republic as a third grader and had never seen a football game before.
“He’s a tough kid who has willed himself into this position,” stated Brockway’s coach Jake Heigel. When asked if this game was the best game of his career Heigel said, “because of the opponent, absolutely.” Cuello said, “I think my vision has developed over time. Thanks to my coaches, we started working on it to where I feel comfortable when I get the ball, I know what hole to hit.”
Brockway ran for 182 yards and punished the vaunted Redbank defense with their physical play. The Rovers received the opening kickoff and drove from their 30 to the Redbank one-yard line in 12 plays, all runs. But the Bulldog defense as they have done all year dug deep. They stuffed the third down play for no gain and Cole Bish angled his way into the backfield on 4th down to dump Cuello for a 5-yard loss. “It (the drive) still was a confidence booster,” said Cuello, “because it proved we could run the ball on them.”
Redbank answered by driving 57 yards into Brockway territory at the 37. Then on third down, Carter Hickman and Reese Yahner sacked the quarterback, Braylon Wagner for a 6-yard loss. That resulted in the Bulldogs deciding to punt the ball and play field position. It was on the upcoming Brockway series the game’s only touchdown would be scored.
Three plays netted only one yard for the Rovers. So, how do they score facing a fourth and nine at their own 9-yard line? You fake a punt! Yes, the Brockway coaching staff faked a punt on fourth and long from their own 9. With Fox being the punter, it makes it nice if you do want to fake a punt since he’s the quarterback. Fox found a wide-open Mattie Brubaker over the middle for 23 yards as time ran out in the first quarter to give Brockway the ball at the 32. An incomplete pass and five straight Jendy Cuello runs put the ball at the Redbank 45. Expecting the run, the Bulldog defense got suckered in by a play fake and Fox lobbed a perfect pass to Brubaker who ran the final yards into the end zone to put the Rovers on the board. Aiden Wilcox kicked the point after and Brockway found themselves on top 7-0 with 9:20 left in the half.
Both teams exchanged punts and Redbank Valley took over at their 29 after Brockway’s punt with 6:13 left in the second quarter. Thirteen plays later facing a fourth and two at the Brockway 7, Redbank decided to go for it instead of kicking a field goal. Wagner’s pass fell incomplete with 49 seconds on the clock and Brockway’s faithful breathed a sigh of relief. But the Bulldogs had 3 timeouts remaining and called 2 of them as the Rovers had only gained 3 yards. Here’s where Brockway’s offensive line and Cuello came up big. Cuello found a gap and ran 10 yards for a first down, allowing Brockway to go into the intermission leafing 7-0.
The second half was about battling for field position as neither team could do much offensively. On their second series, Redbank started at midfield but Wagner’s third down pass was picked off by Carter Hickman, the Rovers’ roving linebacker. Late in the third quarter Cuello fumbled the ball at the Brockway 26 and Redbank’s Caden Adams recovered giving the defending D-9 Class A champs a very good shot at tying the game.
But Redbank could not solve Brockway’s defense and settled for an Owen Clouse 22-yard field goal on the first play of the 4th quarter. “Nobody talks about our defense enough,” said Heigel, “we just make plays when we need to. I’m really proud of them.” Brockway’s defense held Redbank to under 200 yards of total offense for the day.
The Rovers then embarked on a 13-play drive that ate up over 7 minutes on the clock ending at the Redbank 37. Cuello ran the ball 8 times for 26 yards, but two of those runs gave Brockway a first down, one on third down play and the other on a fourth and two from Redbank’s 41-yard line. Fox’s subsequent punt went into the end zone and the Bulldogs took over at their 20 with the game and their season on the line.
On third and ten Wagner found a wide-open Rylan Rupp over the middle for 40 yards. An 8-yard pass to Mason Clouse put the ball at the 32, but a holding penalty moved the rock back to the 42. Drew Byers ran 7 yards to the 35 setting up a second and 5. Wagner dropped back and lofted a pass to his receiver who was open momentarily, but Alex Carlson made a great play to intercept the pass at the Brockway one. Carlson is Brockway’s top receiver averaging 8 catches and 90 yards receiving a game. The interception was his only catch all day, but his coaches and teammates were glad it was.
The game still was not over. There was still 3 minutes remaining. The Rovers needed to not get caught in the end zone for a safety first and foremost. Secondly, they needed a first down or two so as not to give the ball back to the Bulldogs in excellent field position. Enter Jendy Cuello and the offensive line again. Five straight runs by Cuello netted 51 yards, but most importantly the game. Cuello was a bit of a poet when he said this about his line, “greatest line in D-9.” Heigel said, “The O-line enjoys blocking for him. They are as hyped up when he gets a first down as he is.”
Brockway netted 250 total yards for the game with 182 of that as mentioned on the ground. Fox was only 2 of 8 passing for 68 yards, but had the big 45-yard TD toss to Brubaker, who caught both passes. RBV only netted 189 yards in the game, with 110 coming through the air. Wagner went 10 for 19, but threw 2 interceptions.
Redbank Valley finishes 2022 with a 9-2 record. Brockway, the #3 seed, is now 8-4 and will play the #1 seeded Port Allegany Gators next Friday at 7:00 in Bradford. “Port is a fantastic football team. When you think of physicality, they are physical,” stated Heigel. “Our schedule prepared us for the playoffs,” Heigel added. Port Allegany beat Brockway 40-7 during the regular season, but Brockway is not the same team as they were then. It should be a good one.
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